Webinar: Low Latency, High Stakes: Delivering Real-Time Streams At Scale​

For a great deal of media consumed online, latency is irrelevant, as most media is archived and served by request, with virtually every viewer’s start time occurring asynchronously with another’s. And with much live content, however, perception of immediacy often matters more than immediacy itself. But as soon as rapid-fire interactions, along with transactions like bidding and betting and sales, come into play—increasingly the case with today’s high-stakes, large-scale live streams—time is of the essence, and ultra-low latency approaching real time becomes paramount. What does it take to deliver real-time (or ultra-near real-time) streams at scale in 2024, what are the persistent challenges, when is prioritizing ultra-low latency a must, and what are the trade-offs of doing so?

Tim Siglin, Founding Executive Director, Help Me Stream Research Foundation

Chris Packard, Manager, Live Programming & Streaming, LinkedIn
Darcy Lorincz, CEO, Motoworlds
Oliver Lietz, CEO, nanocosmos

Webinar Key Takeaways

Low Latency for Interactivity: Sub-second latency in live streaming is a must for interactive use cases like auctions, gaming, and betting. The goal is to provide an interactive and engaging experience for the audience.

Challenges in Achieving Ultra-Low Latency: Achieving sub-second latency in browsers at scale is tough, leading to the creation of specialized solutions such as nanoStream Cloud. These are designed to address the need for high interactivity while upholding crucial business functions.

Criticality of Latency in Business Scenarios: Latency plays a critical role in scenarios where there is real money involved, such as live auctions and betting. Two to three seconds are deemed unacceptable in monetized scenarios, and achieving sub-second latency is crucial.

It is about the balance of experience and the cost and the audience: In the bidding world when you’re bidding on something or you’re betting as Oliver said there’s really no room for error: There’s money on the line with the push of a button. So obviously the cost is worth it since especially if you’re selling high ticket items like vehicles or doing something in a bet that you’re putting serious money down for, whether it’s you know large or small, it’s serious to you, so you don’t want to have latency as a cause for a bad experience.

The need for a constant live stream: interactivity requires stable and continuous live streams, even under fluctuating network conditions. Companies are tackling these issues by prioritizing a seamless user experience, ensuring that even if video quality must be temporarily reduced, the stream remains live to support monetized activities like betting or bidding. This approach contrasts with traditional broadcasting priorities, which focus more on maximizing quality. The key is maintaining ultra-low latency and adaptability in quality to ensure uninterrupted, monetized streams regardless of network stability or user location.

Synchronization: The significance of achieving synchronization and reducing latency is underscored, particularly in gaming and betting, where discrepancies can mar the user experience. The challenges extend to live sports streaming, where varying demands and device usage necessitate consistent latency across all participants, highlighting the distinction between traditional leanback experiences and the need for interaction.

Analytics and the importance of optimizing the first mile: Data analytics plays a critical role in understanding and reducing latencies. The workflow is examined in stages, prioritizing the first mile, CDN and playback. Metrics are essential at each stage, covering live stream preparation, adaptive bit rate, player side, and the last mile, helping understand end-to-end latency.

Security: Encryption is the initial defense against potential abuse in streaming, followed by managing access to the stream. Even with legitimate access, there’s a risk of system abuse, and detecting unexpected access to live streams is crucial. Various attack scenarios exist, highlighting the importance of awareness and the ability to detect and mitigate such scenarios through metrics and access controls. It’s emphasized that monitoring performance metrics is essential to adjust quality and network usage, particularly in streaming applications utilizing adaptive bit rate.